Keisha Baxter-Batchelor is Head of Health and Social Care at La Retraite Roman Catholic Girls’ School. As part of the preparations for delivering the Education and Childcare T Level from September 2020, Keisha completed an Industry Insight placement at St Bedes Infant and Nursery School. The placements are part of the T Level Professional Development support offer to provide opportunities for professional updating for teachers that is industry relevant, and that facilitates knowledge transfer and professional exchange.
What were your key objectives for going on a staff placement in industry?
I wanted to gain an understanding of the day-to-day running of a nursery and the policies and procedures that are in place, so that our learners will understand their role and be able to implement them in their placement. In addition, I was keen to find out a personal insight from employees at the placement host as to what their jobs entail, and what the current developments have been in the industry sector. I wanted to use these insights to inspire my learners and better prepare them for the future.
Tell us about your experience and the highlights from the placement
My experience showed me the skills our learners will gain by participating in industry placements. From developing self-reliance skills, as an academic environment is very different to a workplace, to gaining industry-specific knowledge to aid their transition into the workplace easier. Highlights of the placement included learning about the layout, the curriculum and observing the way the children are treated in a restful and dignified way. Also, to observe in practice how the routine, curriculum and the activities match the early years criteria.
What did you value the most about engaging with St Bedes Infant and Nursery School?
The layout and what our learners will be involved in whilst on their industry placements including implementing the policies in the placement, knowing that they will know how to conduct themselves and look after the children and safeguard them. It was also interesting to learn about how the nursery staff vary in terms of age, experience and knowledge which will alter our learners’ perceptions when they are on placement and allow them to see beyond their educational bubble. I hope this will accelerate their development of a mature attitude and stand them in good stead for future employment.
What has been the impact on you, your colleagues and organisations?
The experience has enabled me to create schemes of work that have OFSTED requirements embedded. The work experience coordinator’s job is also easier now, knowing the ins and outs of the setting and the policies and procedures that are like the ones at La Retraite. We were also reassured that appropriate safeguarding procedures for our learners on the placement are in place. Finally, the experience gave confidence to our Senior Leadership Team that staff are better equipped to deliver T Levels, as they have gained first-hand experience in the workplace.
How will this positively impact on future T Level learners?
Placement resources for students, such as the placement booklet, have been modified and the nursery room we have developed has been adapted. Gaining knowledge of the industry placement allows us to impart to learners’ clear expectations that will be required of them from managers and colleagues, which will stand them in good stead at their industry placement and for future employment.